GIG REVIEW – SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY AND THE ASBURY JUKES
Southside Johnny was back in the UK with the Asbury Jukes as part of his Summer 2014 European tour and our London Guitar Academy reviewer, Paul Wood, was there to catch the band in full flow for their show at the Robin 2in Bilston.
The Robin 2 seems to be a permanent feature on the Southside Johnny European tour schedule and the band didn’t disappoint with a cracking set of ragged brilliance (as is the Juke’s style) for a good sized crowd who roared the band along.
The set featured heavily from the classic first 3 albums – “I Don’t Want To Go Home”, “This Time It’s For Real” and “Hearts of Stone” – but also featured material from later albums as well as traditional and sometimes unexpected covers.
Comparing sets from Bilston with other shows on the current tour (Shepherds Bush, Holmfirth, the Bospop festival in Holland and the pre-tour dates in the States), there is a regular rotation of material from their classic back catalogue – no set is ever the same twice – and with Southside Johnny on stage, even the band sometimes don’t know what they’re going to be playing next.
If you’ve not seen the band before – here’s an official promo from a few years back filmed at the legendary Stone Pony:
Early parts of the set were plagued by sound/monitor problems which were probably more troubling to Southside and the band than the crowd. Having got these sorted, the band punched into the middle section of their set with a real purpose – every time the horn section came in, the crowd nearly took the roof off the Robin.
SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY AND THE ASBURY JUKES GIG REVIEW
Current guitarist Glenn Alexander is probably the best fit for the Jukes since Bobby Bandiera went out “on loan” to Jon Bon Jovi, and the main on-stage foil for Southside is now keyboardist Jeff Kazee who moves between keyboard/organ/vocals and is the “straight man” to Southside’s on-stage patter – he even gets a short spell on one song standing alongside Tom Seguso on the drum riser as they play double drums!
Among the classic tracks played were “I Played The Fool”, “You Mean So Much To Me Baby”, “Love On The Wrong Side Of Town”.”Broken Down Piece of Man “ (with Jeff Kazee taking the 2nd vocal line), “Baby’s Gone For Good”, “Without Love” “Light Don’t Shine” (a personal favourite) and “Talk To Me”.
Here’s “Without Love” live from Newcastle in 2002:
Covers included “Just My Imagination” and then a double tribute to the recently deceased Bobby Womack – “Across 110th Street” (sung by Southside) and “Lookin’ For A Love” (sung by Jeff Kazee).
Closing the set with “The Fever”, the band were brought back out by the Bilston crowd for an encore session that included “Trapped Again” and a second (unknown to me) song fronted up by the brass section (“the New York Horns”) from their own self titled new album .
The evening was brought to a close with the traditional Jukes finale of “I Don’t Want To Go Home” – but only after their longstanding roadie, Hood, had been located back stage so he could kick it off with the cry of “I Don’t Want To Go Home”. Even then Southside made him do it twice as he didn’t think the intro was raucous enough the first time!
Here’s “I Don’t Want To Go Home” – also from the Newcastle 2002 Newcastle show
(The Newcastle show footage is from the DVD: “Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: From Southside To Tyneside” released through Secret Records)
You’re always guaranteed a party when Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes are around– catch them the next time they’re in your town.
Southside Johnny – vocals and harmonica
Jeff Kazee – keyboards and vocals
John Conte – bass
Glenn Alexander – guitar
Tom Seguso – drums
John Isley – sax
Chris Anderson – trumpet
Neal Pawley – trombone
Blast From The Past
Here’s a young Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes from a TV appearance circa 1982/3 playing “The Fever” (with Patti Scialfa on backing vocals):